Home > Uncategorized > That Happened on a Friday. Attorney General Announces Felony Charges Filed Against Former State Reps.

That Happened on a Friday. Attorney General Announces Felony Charges Filed Against Former State Reps.

Yesterday evening I noticed that the Michigan Attorney General and Michigan State Police were holding a press release today regarding the findings of their investigation into potential misconduct of two former state legislators.

I didn’t think much of it.

Then, much to my surprise, I get an e-mail today at 12:52 pm  with the following caption:

“Schuette, MSP Announce Felony Charges Against Former Reps Gamrat and Courser” 

Please keep in mind that all parties are innocent until proven guilty. But man, what a way to ruin a weekend…

One of the charges brought against Todd Courser is that he committed perjury.

Under Michigan Law, MCL § 750.423 perjury is a felony.

“(1) Any person…of whom an oath is required by law, who willfully swears falsely in regard to any matter or thing respecting which the oath is authorized or required is guilty of perjury, a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 15 years.”

I tell all of my clients – whether they are testifying at a deposition or at trial – the number one rule when giving testimony is:

“tell the truth”.

Simple, right?

Could these charges and the ensuing warrants  have been avoided by the telling of the truth?

A Judge or Jury will decide that.

You can read the full press release below.

“Schuette, MSP Announce Felony Charges Against Former Reps Gamrat and Courser 

Investigation by Michigan State Police and Attorney General results in felony misconduct in office and perjury charges

LANSING ­– Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and the Michigan State Police today announced that felony charges of misconduct in office have been filed against former State Representatives Cindy Gamrat and Todd Courser following a joint investigation by the Michigan State Police and the Department of Attorney General into the actions of the two former state officials that ended with the expulsion of Gamrat and resignation of Courser last year.  Courser was also charged with one count of felony perjury related to testimony he gave to the Michigan House of Representatives while under oath.

Additionally, Schuette said the case will be forwarded to the Michigan Secretary of State, which has initial jurisdiction over state campaign finance law, to review for possible violations, and to the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission.  Courser is currently licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan.

Charges against Gamrat and Courser were filed this morning at the 54-A District Court in Ingham County.  The defendants will be contacted via their attorneys and have been offered the chance to turn themselves in to the Michigan State Police. Arraignments are expected soon thereafter.

Schuette’s office opened its investigation late last summer and officially joined with the Michigan State Police following passage of House Resolutions 141 and 145 on September 11, 2015, which formally requested an investigation following the expulsion of Gamrat and resignation of Courser from the House of Representatives.

While more details will be revealed during the prosecution, Schuette said that charges will allege that Gamrat and Courser engaged in a pattern of corrupt conduct while holding state office, including both lying to the House Business Office during its investigation and Courser lying during testimony before the House Select Committee, while under oath, about directing staff to forge his signature on proposed legislation. The charges:

Cindy Gamrat:

  • Two charges of Misconduct in Office, MCL 750.505, a felony, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison and/or a maximum $10,000 fine.

Todd Courser:

  • Three charges of Misconduct in Office, MCL 750.505, a felony, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison and/or a maximum $10,000 fine.
  • One charge of Perjury, MCL 750.423, a felony, with a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

“The voters placed a sacred trust in the hands of Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat when they chose them to serve as their voices in the Capitol,” said Schuette. “But instead of serving their home towns, they served only themselves at the expense of everyone else.

“With the filing of these charges, it is my hope that citizens of Michigan see that no one is above the law, not even those who walk in the halls of power; that no one is beyond the reach of the law, not even those who make the laws and when laws are broken, that justice can and will be delivered.

Once arrangements are completed, further information will be made available by the Attorney General’s office about bond and future court dates.

These charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.”

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